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Fiji:Released captives handed over to Red Cross

13-07-2000 News Release 00/26

Geneva (ICRC)  - The remaining 18 of the 31 people taken captive by George Speight and held in the parliamentary compound in the Fijian capital Suva were today released and handed over to the Fiji Red Cross Society. Among them was deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

At about 4 p.m. local time, Fiji Red Cross headquarters was informed by members of George Speight's group that they were ready to release the last group of captives, further to an agreement signed with the Fijian military.

About 20 staff and volunteers of the National Red Cross Society who had been on standby since the beginning of the crisis eight weeks ago went immediately with two Red Cross cars and two Red Cross trucks to pick up the freed captives and take them to the Society's headquarters for a medical check-up by local doctors. The release went smoothly and all 18 were later taken to their homes by Fiji Red Cross staff. Thirteen other people had previously been released and handed over to the Fiji Red Cross.

The ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which both have offices in Suva, have been providing the Fiji Red Cross with support throughout the crisis and will continue to maintain their presence.